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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Survey proves that Enterprise Architecture does only IT strategy, solution architecture and project reviews

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Here is a Forrester survey from 2009 on what IT professionals part of an EA group, typically do.  I add my source and the picture for convenience.

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"Addressing near-term needs of applications... " (21%) and Addressing near-term needs of infrastructure" (15%) suggest, at first sight, application or solution architecture work. This a substantial amount of their time NOT spent on Enterprise Architecture.

"Collaboration with business"(15%). Most IT professionals collaborate with business to gather requirements, deliver services, check satisfaction etc. Nothing suggests that this is time spent on Business or Enterprise Architecture.
 Overall, the time spent by EA architects on business as usual IT solutions architecture activity amounts to 60% of their time (21%+15%+15% +9%other)!

There remain a few key EA group work items: 
* Project reviews - "Running or participating in EA governance processes"- 14%
* IT strategic planning and support - "Developing future applications or technology plans - 16% and "Supporting Enterprise planning and budgeting" (11%):  I assume the activity is limited to IT and is related to new applications and systems roadmaps and strategy.
Overall amounting to 41% of the time of the architect. 

A first conclusion is that the work is nearly All IT. Then that EA architects, or member of the EA group mostly do Solution Architecture work.
I can see no hint of architecture modelling work, that, I would have said, it's a key component of the EA, that is if we still want to call it EA. Also there is no EA definition work, that is work like framework selection, repository design, specification of principles and  measures for EA maturity and value delivered etc. There is no mention of EA work done by business stakeholders or IT professionals not part of the EA team. 

Looking again at the graph, the end deliveries of the EA group appear to be applications and technology planning. No wonder EA is so often confused with IT strategy. 
To recap, currently, EA seems to be all about IT, focused on  solution architecture, project reviews and IT strategy.
That may explain why EA is of so little consequence in the Enterprise today and TOGAF, consisting mainly of of the ADM process,  is the development method of choice.  There are no business or IT architecture blueprints whatsoever which we may naturally associate with EA. 
This is not really EA work and the professionals in the group are IT rather than EA architects.

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Your last line says it all: "This is not really EA work and the professionals in the group are IT rather than EA architects."

This isn't enterprise-architecture - it's IT-architecture with (in some cases) a whole-of-enterprise scope.

The survey-questions themselves help to reinforce, so it's not real a survey about EA at all: it's a survey about IT-architecture.

What this survey really tells us is that the IT-centric hijack of the much broader term 'enterprise-architecture' is all but total - which means that we now have no means to describe a true 'architecture of the enterprise'. And we need that broader meaning, even to make sense of IT-architecture: for example, the Open Group are now publicly urging TOGAF architects to break out of the IT-centric box.

IT-architecture is not enterprise-architecture: it is, at best, a minor subset of EA, but that's all. As a profession, EA has a real problem here: if we don't challenge this flagrant misuse of the term 'enterprise-architecture', we are dead in the water. Not good.

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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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